The stage is just about set for the 14th Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The stated values of the Games are ‘Courage, Determination, Inspiration and Equality.’ Instead of the five rings used at The Olympics, the symbol of the Paralympics is the three Agitos, meaning ‘I move’ in Latin.
The Agitos are shown in red, blue and green, which are the colours most widely used on global flags and represent motion and the coming together of athletes from all over the world. The symbol was first used in Athens in 2004 and serves to incorporate the Paralympic motto, ‘Spirit in Motion.’
The Paralympics as we know it today (open to anyone with a qualifying disability) was first staged in 1960 in Rome. Prior to this there were early versions of the games that started in 1948, in Stoke Mandeville, which were restricted solely to a small gathering of war veterans. From these humble beginnings The Games have now evolved into one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
For a long time The Paralympics was unfortunately seen by many to be the poor relative of The Olympics, with some incorrectly thinking that for ‘those poor, brave disabled men and women’ merely taking part was enough. Not any more! The Paralympics has really come into its own, with the 2012 London Games attracting record viewers. Those that watched it did not see men and women with disabilities just there to take part, but instead saw fantastic world class athletes at the top of their game, pushing boundaries and excelling in sporting excellence.
The 2016 Rio Games have a lot to live up to as London 2012 was truly spectacular. However, with the athletes raring to go and endeavouring to break yet more records, Rio promises to deliver even more.